January 5, 2018

SUNNY GREECE!

Yo! lemme just praise my own willingness to write another post about my 2016 Eurotrip in 2018! (such an  achievement right?) Jokes aside, I am writing this because my brain remind me to just finish these posts and move on.

So let's talk about the country I am exited about after France; GREECE! and let's discuss the things that makes me wanted to visit this country so bad shall we?

1. I grew up playing this PC game called Zeus (anyone can relate?) and it's basically we play god and build a city. The game was set in ancient Greece where from this game I learned about building temples, understanding various gods, commodities and other fun stuff.

2. I just finished watching this VERY popular korean drama called "Descendant of the Sun" where there was a scene at the Navagio beach whereby a shipwreck stranded on the shore and it was very gorgeous, but too bad we did not actually visit anywhere outside Athens.

The first day we arrived, just like when we arrive in other countries, we would opted to go with the train/subway for the cheapest transportation to the city but apparently that would be a wrong choice because I did not remembered exactly how much, i think it was around 60 EUR/person. So freakin expensive, so later we opted to go by bus which obviously takes a lot longer and we need to change a few lanes to get to our hostel. We've noticed that the city don't have any skyscraper buildings, it looks like Jakarta in 80's or 90's.
Somewhere downtown Athens

This is also the same
We bought our first Souvlaki which packed with meat and fries in a huge roll of pita bread. It was really cheap and FYI, out of all countries in Europe, bottled water in Greece is the cheapest! We used to be that cheapskate and always refill our bottle at the hotel before leaving but now we can but water from the vending machine. We also tried Moussaka which looks like lasagna stuffed with eggplant, minced beef and tomato. My favorite dish would be Bougatsa because I've seen it a lot on TV but never across finding it in Jakarta. It's basically a dessert i would say, (similar to) pastry dough on the outside and a thick filling on the inside. It tasted very good! The weirdest food we've tried would be Saganaki which is literally "fried cheese".

Moussaka

Saganaki
Ok, onto the sightseeing. I mean what's the point of going to Greece without visiting the temples right? so we did went to the Acropolis. It was a huge area where on top of the hills you can finally see the temple ruins. We are awed by the fact that most of the area of the Acropolis are built with marbles. You need to be careful tho because it is a bit slippery.
Not to discourage you but to be honest I would not really recommend on going to the Acropolis area because it still being renovated after the war, so you can not really see it as a whole as it still has a lot of construction things on the temples, and the reason I get really disappointed is because the fact that you cannot see any of the gods statue there, AT ALL with a very pricey admission ticket. You need to go to this museum on the other side of the hill and pay another admission ticket and they did not even have the Athena statue there. They said it got ruined (i think most likely stolen) during the war with Romans. What a total disappointment.

View from halfway to the top

Another view halfway to the top




Erechtheum Temple


Behind me is the Parthenon Temple where Athena statue is nowhere to be found :(

Parthenon Temple
Notice that pictures above look like it was taken on a gloomy day? It was actually freakin hot outside and apparently there was a sandstorm somewhere and the dust are traveled and cover the whole sky of this city. As disappointed as I was with the fact that I cannot even find a single statue standing in this area, I was impressed on how rich and cultured this country was, everything are made of marbles and there are still "something" left for people to see as a witness of how successful this country was.

To make that up, let me give you a 180 degrees pictures of the actual beauty of Greece here:

Fun fact: random ruins are scattered around the city

None of these photos are edited

These cute-colored houses are everywhere



How beautiful are these houses!


So that would be the highlight of my trip to Greece, to sum everything up I would say the Mediterranean breezy weather was really nice, every picture taken there looks stunning because it contrast with the blue sky. People here are also very nice and welcoming. Prices are fairly good and the food tasted amazing.
September 25, 2017

HELLO HOLLAND!


Amsterdam
Cheese Galore
I tried to think about a catchy title for this post but my brain can only work to that point so let's laugh silently for my skill. Anyways, as you can read from the title, let's talk about Netherlands!
It is actually the country i was landed on for the first time in Europe since my sister live here. Surprisingly i did not get any jet lag and after my sister pick me up from the airport we went straight to the subway and arrived at Amsterdam Centraal Station. Of course since I'm a tourist and this is my first time in Europe everything was so fascinating to me, including going on a boat ride crossing to a small island where there was a cafe on it and a huge I Amsterdam thing whereby people (I mean, me as well) taking pictures at.
To be honest Netherlands is not my favorite country because of the weather. It is so indecisive! but mostly it is always gloomy. Funny how this Eurotrip sometimes makes me look stupid because we were going in and out to different countries with different weather so I carry a thick jacket to Greece and Italy. People are giving me that "why are you carrying that in this weather" look.
I also did not spend that much time in Netherlands because let's be real, my only "must-go" is Keukenhof Festival and that's all i wanted. Thankfully the weather during our visit there was sunny and breezy. It was really nice.

Tulip Field
Keukenhof
Should I add a caption to this?
Cherry blossom
I also had a joyous time on Primark! It's absolutely better than H(and) M, especially the price. I came from Indonesia and supposedly everything seems expensive to me but in this place, I actually can shop as much as I was in Indonesia, or even more. Everything is so freakin cheap with a good quality. SO MUCH WIN! (it's probably because end of season as well)

Keukenhof
Somewhere in Amsterdam


I actually did not stayed in Amsterdam because my sister lives in Eindhoven, a small city 30 mins train ride outside Amsterdam. To be honest I liked Eindhoven a lot more compared to Amsterdam because it was a slow-paced-kind-of city, which I liked. Amsterdam on the other hand got a lot of things but the city was too busy and a bit dirty.

On another note, do not forget to buy those chunky fries with samurai sauce and also lots of cheese there!!
September 18, 2017

WHEN IN ROME

Writing this at 9.16 PM with my determination to continue this post before I forgot everything. So let's start with my 2nd stop which is Rome!
We landed in Rome around noon and went straight to the Termini (which is the central train station) by...BUS. Yep, you read that correctly, I totally forgot why we take the bus but a quick pro-tip for you to save money is to pre-book your tickets. All kinds of tickets whether it's a museum, park, bus or whatever because the price difference is quite high when you buy it on the spot. Sometimes you can't even buy the tickets on the spot. Watch out for pickpockets as well! I've seen a few attempts of people try to steal something from me, especially since I looked like a tourist. I mean, I cannot help to look like a tourist since I am Asian...the struggle guys...*sigh*

Colloseum
Victor Emmanuel II Monument

I am actually kind of disappointed on how dirty the city was (or probably because I am not staying in the fancy area) dog poop and trash are scattered everywhere. The train smells really bad, the stations are dirty. But on the other hand the buildings was definitely beautiful. My favorite was Fontana di Trevi, obviously. It was beautiful and the best part was we went there just after the fountain got renovated so it looks very clean.

Fontana di Trevi
Food wise, I did not expect how tomato-ey the pasta was. Unlike anything I ate in Jakarta, it still tasted really different but on the other side, my food horizon was also broaden because I've never tasted tiramisu that special except in here. It was so good!

This one is special, we literally booked an hour train ride to Tivoli just to visit Villa D'Este. If you watched Lizzie Mc Guire the Movie then you'll definitely know what exactly I'm talking about. We arrived at noon, and it was already cloudy, so after we went out of the train station, the shortcut to the city was crossing this long scary bridge because 1. It was cloudy, 2. We are afraid of being robbed. So we walked very fast and arrived at the "city". But boy, apparently the location was very far from the train station and the sign was not clear at all. Without any reception nor data plan in our phone, we literally only prayed that we can read maps correctly.

The Fontana Dell'Ovato
The Villa was not that special but the "backyard" is the one I'm talking about. It has around 5 or 6 big water fountain! Not only that but all of the fountains are NOT run by electricity, because the villa was made in a terraced style, so all of the waters that runs through those fountains only done by gravity. One special fountain also features organ where in certain hours, a small door will opened up and play some music on the back of the fountain and the organ runs by water! How cool is that?

Fountain of the Organ
The Fountain of Neptune
As you can see from the picture below, the struggle is when you're done going around and you have to climb those stairs to reach the villa at the top.

Villa D'Este

Bridge in front of Castel Sant'Angelo
Vatican
We've also visited Vatican, but only went on the outside because we don't have much time (and money) but just looking on the outside, the building was majestic. All those statues and the detailing, makes everything looks beautiful. I also feel that both interior and architecture in Rome are not that "colorful" compared to Paris. The colors are a lot softer and subtle.

Vatican
I don't think I have the greatest experience in Rome to be honest, the prices are acceptable but probably because of mostly gloomy weather I cannot really enjoy the city. I truly believe Rome has it's golden era back then and that what makes Rome how it is now. 
August 24, 2017

PAREE!

Let's start with the most beautiful city I've ever been shall we?


I believe everyone will fall in love at the first sight for this city. To me is a bit of both as I've seen the good and the bad. Yet, still unforgettable memories.


Arrived in Paris by bus (which supposed to be at 7 a.m. but actually arrived at 5 a.m.) freakin cold! Obviously I cannot check in to my hotel so we only dropped our baggage and went straight for breakfast. Stopped by at Henry V station. It was located alongside of the famous Champ Elysees street. Funny how I can get full only by eating a croissant, 2 toast with jam and a cup of hot chocolate. If I ate that in Indonesia as my everyday breakfast I would already be dying before 12. Somehow my body adjusted really well there.
We strolled down the street and ended up spending 3 hours at Sephora. Oh, I already mentioned "we" as if you already know. I did this whole Eurotrip with my sister by the way. She live in Netherlands.

The highlights of my trip to Paris are:


1. Food was great! (as I would expected, obviously)

Arc de Triomphe

Whatever-that-is-near Place de la Condorde

Musee du Louvre

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame Cathedral

Pont Alexandre III

Lines of Pre-Wed shoot. Fun fact, most of them are Asian

Mesmerizing

I got the chance to eat at this traditional restaurant near Moulin Rouge. We need to book weeks before visiting to be seated inside. Really low ceiling, not so great decoration but food was great! I finally ate escargot in France! YAY! Verdict was..chewy..
I also managed to eat duck confit. This...would be the highlight of our dinner. Crispy skin yet tender on the inside. The sauce also complements the duck really well.
Finally ate Nutella crepes as well.


2. Lavish palace

There's always some kind of "art" incorporated to old buildings, either small details of logos to sculptures on the wall. I went to so-obvious Louvre but did not get inside the museum because the queue was so freaking long. So we only went around the upper part of the museum. But still, I cannot believe that back in the old days, these people managed to build this very detailed sculptures mounted to the wall only for the aesthetics.

I also went to Versailles!

Chateau de Versailles
Chateau de Versailles

Summer Villa
Let's have a real talk right now. I cannot get over how luxurious this palace was. Gold gates and roof ornaments, a HUGE palace with sooo many paintings, and each room has their own "theme". Did I also mentioned that this palace area was LITERALLY HUGE? I mean, the had this main palace at the very front, then they got huge fountains across the "backyard" then they still got Summer Villa/Visitor Villa and at the far back, Marie Antoinette managed to build, yes you read that correctly, build a small village resembles her childhood village where she used to live. I even take this little train ride just to explore the whole palace area. I haven't even started talking about the inside right? marble floors and gold plated everything was standard. I am mesmerized looking at their dance hall. Full of mirrors and chandeliers. It was really gorgeous!

Grand Ballroom

3. Gorgeous Coastline

On the last day in Paris, we went to Nice. Although we arrived with gloomy weather, I instantly knew that this place is amazing. We only stayed for 1 night in Nice. To be honest, Nice is our "transit" city because our main goal is to get to Monaco. We take a 20 minute train ride and found ourselves travelling around the coastline of Nice leading up to Monaco. Fun fact, Monaco's train station is the cleanest among all other country I've been in Europe and smells really good!

Too bad we arrived almost noon, around 4 p.m and the weather was also quite gloomy so we can only strolled around for 2 hours and surprisingly the city was kind of empty. Not so many people are around...and later we know why... (will relate to my post in Italy)
Nice was definitely somewhere I want to grow old at. Slow-paced-city, nice Mediterranean weather where you get a bit of the heat and the breeze. The city was not crowded at all, which I like. I already imagined myself going to a small shop every morning to get my freshly baked croissant and coffee to start my day.

4. Shopping

I mean, I'm probably not the right person to talk about this as I am obviously cannot afford any Chanel nor Hermés bag but you will feel the satisfaction even only buying from the-so-obvious-retails (read: Sephora) that satisfaction came when you went out of the store carrying the Sephora paper bag but it has Champ Elysee printed on the bottom. That exclusive feeling...

To summarize France (read: Paris & Nice) i would say that this country had a lot of history, although the culture might not be the best, this country live from the past and that what keeps it alive. The "art" part is well defined in here, everything is beautiful.
January 2, 2017

STARTER PACK - EUROTRIP 2016!


keukenhof - Netherlands

Eiffel Tower - France

Notre Dame - France

Monaco

Fontana di Trevi - Italy

Castel Sant'Angelo - Italy

Somewhere Behind Marienplatz - Germany

Ah, can't believe i'm writing this, and yes, you are reading that title correctly. I went to Europe!

It all began when I have discussion with my mom about what-am-i-going-to-do-with-my-"arisan"-money. Europe was never on my bucket list in my short term vacation plan. I always wanted to go to Japan. Then my mom started this mind-games that makes me consider twice and my sister was also wanting me to go there (Europe), she wanted to go to Greece, and I have always wanted to go there too so a  few weeks later we were skype-ing to plan our trip.

A few tips for those of you planning for a trip to Europe:

1. Do your research, find out about the Visa, how much you need to pay, which country you're applying your Visa to, how much money you need to prepare and all that shit. I would  recommend this page for guidance.
2. Prepare your money. It doesn't have to be unbelievable amount of money transferred to your bank account in a short period of time. They just wanted to know if you are able to live there according to your plan.
3. Do not buy your plane tickets yet! Do it after you got the Visa. I mean, if shit happens, at least you won't lose your airplane ticket (and it's not cheap guys)
4. I would suggest not to take visa services. It's not that hard and you are basically paying extra for nothing. Those visa services cannot replace you for your visa interview.  You still have to attend it yourself so..what's the point?
5. Don't panic! during your visa interview the interviewer might look and sound intimidating but that's their job, all you need to do is be calm and collected, answer their questions straight away without any hesitant. When I got interviewed it probably took 5-10 mins and he only asks when I'll be leaving and be back and what I'm going there for.
6. Airplane tickets can be really expensive and I would suggest to take the fastest route possible. Go check this website so you can get the exact same flight with various prices and make sure all the tax and all that shit is included in the price. Go for the midnight flights because I have proven that this will help you avoid jet lag.
7. Have fun! this is your vacation anyway, enjoy it, you deserve it!

Will post each country experience with no particular order. Stay tuned!
 

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